New Delhi, Apr 1 (IANS): With Gujarat Titans' batter Kane Williamson suffering a knee injury while fielding in the IPL 2023 opening match against Chennai Super Kings at Ahmedabad, there has been buzz that the injury could potentially rule him out of the competition.
But there has been a lot of excitement and buzz amongst fans on social media on whether talismanic Australia batter Steve Smith would make his return to the competition as a replacement for Williamson.
Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar thinks if Smith joins Gujarat as a replacement player, he could even help captain Hardik Pandya with leadership duties. "I think that would be a brilliant call, and Steve Smith is the kind of player they want, somebody who can play all kinds of gears."
"Plus with the new rules which he finds very cool, I'd love to see Smith's captaincy, we saw that and we were raving about it in the India-Australia series. And Hardik Pandya needs a bit of help, he confe‘sed, 'I have no idea what my tactics are, so I'm going to leave it to the others.' So, that could be a great call actually," he was quoted as saying by Star Sports.
It should be interesting to witness if Smith is signed up for IPL 2023 as a player, as he has also signed up to play three first-class matches for Sussex in the County Championship season in May, ahead of playing the World Test Championship (WTC) final against India as well as the Ashes in England in June.
"I don't know if I'll qualify, I didn't even put myself in the auctions. So I don't think there's even a possibility. So, maybe next year, we will see where we go," he added.
In the IPL, Smith has previously been with the Delhi Capitals, Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and the now-defunct franchises Rising Pune Supergiant, Pune Warriors India, and Kochi Tuskers Kerala.
He also captained Pune to the runners-up finish in IPL 2017. In 103 IPL matches, Smith has scored 2485 runs at an average of 34.51 and strike-rate of 128.09, including a century and 11 fifties.
Asked about his memories of playing in the IPL, Smith said, "I think just coming up against the best players around the world, the learning experiences from each of those, sharing dressing rooms with guys like M.S. Dhoni, Jos Buttler, guys like that."
"It's been incredible, and the IPL has just been unbelievable since its start 15 years ago and it just continues to grow and grow."